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Newer Approaches to Medical Student Assessments

Thursday, February 27 at 11:00 AM
Des Moines University, Student Education Center (SEC) 115, Des Moines, IA, 50312 Show Map

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This webinar is hosted by International Association of Medical Science Educators (IAMSE).

Innovations in health care education require the simultaneous development of creative new approaches to student assessment.  This IAMSE webcast seminar series will explore these issues and provide several examples of how schools are evolving with assessment approaches.  Many, if not most, contemporary health science curricula are exploring the integrated learning of multiple basic science disciplines in the clinical and social contexts of patient care.  These teaching and learning approaches require new and creative assessment tools to monitor student progress.  Faculty training to develop and implement these changes is also critical since constructing high quality, reliable assessment tools is a learned skill.  Assessment includes formative feedback to students as an effective learning activity, and this is increasingly incorporated into modern curricula.  Students are also being taught life-long learning skills and are expected to be independent learners.  Yet how can faculty or accreditation agencies be assured of progress towards continued professional growth and competency?  As post-curricular, graduate medical educational programs change to more benchmark approaches to measure competency, how will this impact the approaches to learning and assessment in medical and other health science curricula? These and other issues will be the focus of our five seminars.

The first session will update us on use of NBME customized exams for basic science assessment, introduce the GEMS program that allows customization for local use, and discuss the COMAT exam for clinical clerkships.  Creative pilot programs such as using pharmaceutical ads for interpretations skills will also be discussed.

The next three seminars will explore the practical application of evaluation approaches such as the value of exam reviews, formative quizzes, strategies and methods to assess individual learning, and creation and use of student portfolios.

Our fifth session will conclude the series with a backward look and discussion of the potential impact of graduate medical educational assessment of competencies with programs like “Milestones” on the development of future undergraduate medical curricula.  Its potential impact may be compared to the importance that the ACGME core competencies had on developing curricular objectives. 


Bruce Bates, D.O. Senior Vice President for Cognitive Testing of the National Board of Osteopathic Medical Examiners (NBOME) will present on the mission and assessment products of the NBOME with a description of one new product and a new product under development. The Comprehensive Osteopathic Medical Achievement Test (COMAT), an end of service assessment utilization, acceptance and performance will be described along with a brief outline of its correlation with licensing and certification performance. Modeled on a process utilized by The Medical Council of Canada, a new product, Clinical Decision Making (CDM, that is under development will apply a key features approach in an open ended and short answer format for clinical presentations scenarios. The concept development and pilot process will be discussed.

The National Board of Medical Examiners® (NBME®) offers two online platforms for the design, construction and delivery of local web-based examinations: Customized Assessment Services (CAS) and the Global Evaluation Management System™ (GEMS™) Melanie Nelson, Program Manager for Products & Services, will offer participants a look into how CAS, which offers a pool of 10,000+ high quality, secure items assembled from the NBME basic science bank, has helped faculty develop exams to meet a variety of assessment needs.   Participants will also be provided with an example of how one school has used the GEMS versatile end-to-end assessment management to link items in a Nervous Systems course in a way that allows students and faculty to evaluate study habits and use resources to improve specific learning styles.


batesBruce P. Bates

Dr. Bates is the Senior Vice President for the National Board of Osteopathic Medical Examiners, responsible for the oversight of the organization’s cognitive examinations which includes the self-assessment COMSAE, the end-of-service subject exams COMAT, and the COMLEX-USA three-level licensure series for osteopathic medicine.

Dr. Bates’ career spans more than 35 years of clinical practice and medical education including residency director, clinical medical direction, and academic medicine.  He joined the NBOME from the University of New England College of Osteopathic Medicine where he had been the Associate Dean for Clinical Services and Chair of the Department of Geriatric Medicine.  He was the president of the medical staff for Southern Maine Medical Center.  Certified in Family Medicine, Geriatric Medicine, and Hospice and Palliative Care, he has also served as Interim Dean and Associate Dean of Clinical Affairs, as well as Medical Director for both SolAmor Hospice of Maine and MatureCare, a multi-professional group dedicated to long term care.


nelsonMelanie V. Nelson

Melanie has been with the National Board of Medical Examiners® since 1970. Over the years she has worn many hats, starting as a secretary in the Psychometrics unit and gradually moving up to other roles, which have included operational responsibility for the NBME Subject Examination Program, management of the NBME Services Portal and, most recently, directing the transition of the paper subject examinations to web-based test delivery.  She has also played an active role in NBME’s liaison efforts with medical schools and national student groups over the years, delivering presentations about USMLE and NBME programs and staffing exhibit booths.  Melanie now spends her time managing the NBME Customized Assessment Services (CAS) and Global Evaluation Management System (GEMS), two online platforms for the design, construction and delivery of local web-based examinations.